Searching for the best shoes for high instep and wide feet can be a frustrating experience. It seems like no matter what you try, your feet just don’t feel comfortable in them. But we’re here to help! We’ve put together this list of our favorite shoes for people with high instep and wide feet, best mens shoes for high instep, and sandals for high instep and wide feet so that you can finally find a pair that works for you.
We’ve done all the hard work for you by testing out dozens of different styles and brands. We’ve rated them on comfort, style, price and more so that you can get an idea of which ones are worth your time and money (and which ones aren’t).
If you have a hard time finding shoes that fit your foot type, then this article will help take some of the stress out of shopping by helping you find exactly what you need quickly and easily!
Best Shoes For High Instep And Wide Feet
Your high arches will be on cloud nine with these cozy kicks.
When it comes to footwear, everything seems to revolve around arch support, and we all have our own unique arch burden to bear. The perfect pair of shoes looks a lot different for folks with flat feet (aka low arches) than it does for anyone with high arches, so the Shop TODAY team consulted a few top podiatrists to help you get the perfect fit. We’re also sharing some adorable shoppable picks to keep your high arches happy!
What causes high arches?
Also known as pes cavus, high arches can form for a number of reasons including genetics and certain medical conditions. Most often, you’re born with high arches, but if you develop them over time, it’s a sign that you should consult a doctor to rule out a number of neurological conditions.
“Certain neurological diseases like spina bifida, cerebral palsy, polio, strokes, muscular dystrophy and Charcot Marie Tooth disease can lead to high arches,” Dr. Ashley Lee, a foot and ankle reconstructive surgeon at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, added.
What foot issues do high arches cause?
Much like low arches, high arches can cause their own unique set of feet issues. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:
- Increased weight on your feet: “With high arches, your foot is structured to naturally place too much weight on the outside of your foot when walking or standing,” Dr. Brad Schaeffer, board certified foot surgeon at Sole Podiatry NYC and spokesperson for Dr. Scholl’s, said.
- Tight calves: “The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel, are often tight and can lead to tendinitis and spurring on the back of the heel bone,” Lee said.
- Increased pressure on your feet: “People with high arches also have more pressure on the ball of their feet which can lead to metatarsalgia, capsulitis and stress fractures in the metatarsals and neuromas,” Lee said.
- Other foot conditions: “Higher arches can also shorten the plantar fascia, which is a ligament on the bottom of the foot, which can lead to plantar fasciitis,” Lee said.
- Ankle, knee and hip inures: “People with high arches are typically prone to rolling the ankle and having knee and hip problems in the future when not supported properly,” Schaeffer said.
- Arthritis and nerve pain: “High arches can also lead to arthritis in the midfoot due to the arches slowly falling over time. High arches can also cause shoes to put pressure on the top of the foot, which can compress a nerve leading to neuritis, or inflammation of the nerve,” Lee said.
What types of shoes work best for high arches?
There’s no rule that says certain shoe styles are off limits if you have high arches, but some are definitely more desirable than others.
“Heels can sometimes be more uncomfortable for people with higher arches due to the fact that the ball of their foot is already under more pressure than usual,” Lee explained.
If you’re looking for your sole-mate, here are a few worthwhile styles:
- Sandals: “People with higher arches should find a sandal with a supportive arch and ensure that straps do not cross the most prominent part of their instep,” Lee said.
- Flats: “Sometimes people with higher arches find ballet flats to be more comfortable because the smaller toe box does not put pressure on the highest part of the instep,” Lee said.
- Wedges: “Wedges are generally a better option for people who want shoes with a height. Wedges allow the pressure to distribute across the entire foot instead of just the ball and heel of the foot,” Lee said.
- Sneakers: “Gym shoes are always suitable for someone with higher arches, but often people will complain of pain to the instep due to the pressure from the shoe. A simple way I treat this is to have my patients skip an eyelet in their shoelaces overlying the most prominent part of their instep. This alleviates pressure on the nerve and bone,” Lee said.
sandals for high instep and wide feet
Easy Spirit Erin Casual Sandals
Erin Casual Sandals
If arch support is top of mind, these cute and cozy sandals from Easy Spirit are an affordable find you’ll want to take note of. Featuring a cushioned insole and puffy crisscross straps, they seamlessly fuse fashion and function. They also have adjustable straps!
Aerosoles Zola Wedge Sandal
Zola Gladiator Wedges
With its walkable wedge, these edgy sandals were certainly made for on-the-go gals. The gladiator style is a fun alternative to everyday sandals and has a flexible sole that helps tackle friction and offers ample grip. Plus, the faux patent leather material is pretty snazzy.
ABEO B.I.O.system Britta Neutral
“Opt for shoes that have adjustable straps or ties for a good, supportive fit, a comfortable lightweight but non-slip sole, and arch support,” Schaeffer advised.
These cool kicks check off all the boxes and even earned the American Podiatric Medical Association’s (APMA) seal of acceptance. Notable features include memory foam cushioning, shock absorption and a super soft microsuede footbed.
Kuru Glide Sandal
The name says it all: you’ll glide through your day in these ultra comfy sandals. The style has adjustable toe and heel straps so you can customize them to your unique foot, and it also has arch support and a cozy sheepskin-wrapped footbed. What more could you ask for?!
Flats for high arches
Rockport Zoie Chain Ballet Flat
Women’s Zoie Chain Ballet Flat
Ballet flats are often an uncomfortable option if you have certain foot conditions, but they can be great for high arches. This classy pair has a snazzy gold chain, a cozy foam footbed and shock-absorbing heel cushioning.
The right pair of shoes can make a world of difference, but regular stretching can also help with high arches. “It is extremely important to focus on stretching the Achilles and calves, so the foot does not become too rigid and create callous and pressure points on the outside of the foot!” Schaeffer said.
Dansko Lesley Cactus Nubuck
Not a fan of ballet flats? These espadrilles are a fun alternative. The supportive style has a removable footbed with memory foam cushioning, arch support and a lightweight outsole. For added convenience, the lining is even treated with an odor control shield. Of course, the vibrant color options — a bold blue, a fun fuchsia and a gorgeous green — offer added appeal!
Vivaia Round-Toe Knotted Flats
Round-Toe Knotted Flats
Schaeffer recommends looking for shoes with plenty of room in the toe box to offer your tootsies the space they need to move around unrestricted. “Constricting shoes, whether flat or very high heeled, can have really adverse outcomes for your feet and body, and can exacerbate existing issues,” he explained.
These pretty purple flats are made of a knit material that stretches in four directions to prevent any toe squeezing. They also have arch support on the insole, shock-absorbent cushioning and a breathable, odor-resistant material that wicks away moisture.
Vionic Minna Ballet Flat
Minna Ballet Flat
With the APMA seal of acceptance under its belt, these flats certainly come recommended from the pros, but they’re also a Vionic shopper favorite. “Fashionable cute comfy. Excellent arch support makes it the only type of ballet flat I can wear,” one reviewer wrote.
Wedges for high arches
Mootsies Tootsies Karmine Wedge Pump
Karmine Wedge Pump
Aside from having a fun brand name, these wedges caught our attention with their sleek construction and their comfortable features. The sturdy two-inch slip-on heels have a roomy round toe, a memory foam insole and an elastic strap that adds a touch of detail. We could see ourselves rocking them with jeans and a cute blouse at work or with a flirty dress on date night!
Lifestride Zone Booties
In our humble opinion, the best types of shoes are adorable (naturally) and supportive (an essential), and these booties have the market cornered on both nonnegotiable characteristics. The hiker-inspired style comes in faux leather and microsuede materials and has a walking-friendly two-inch wedge heel. The flexible, cushioned style was made for comfort and also has insoles that absorb shock and distribute pressure. Talk about impressive!
Sorel Joanie III Ankle Strap Wedge Sandal
Women’s Joanie III Ankle Strap Sandals
Wedges are a universally comfortable style that’s made for walking, and this sassy style effortlessly merges fashion and function. The faux wood platform is supported by a rubber sole and the style comes in leather and suede finishes.
Koolaburra by Ugg Elladine Bootie
Even when the weather is frightful, you can still look stylish while keeping your feet happy. These wedge booties have an Ortholite foam insole that stabilizes your feet and a 2.75″ heel that will give you a nice lift. We’re definitely digging the sleek suede material and faux fur detailing, and honestly can’t choose which of the three shades we like the most.
best mens shoes for high instep
Holo Maverick Waterproof Sneakers
Women’s Maverick Waterproof Sneakers
Looking for a bit of variety when it comes to your sneaker collection? This waterproof style has a unique vibe with its knit, multitextured exterior. The slip-on style has a roomy round toe and a handy antibacterial lining that keeps germs at bay. It’s available in four colors, including a pretty rose hue that’s calling our name.
Skechers Go Walk Arch Fit Imagined Slip-On Sneaker
Go Walk Arch Fit Imagined Slip-On Sneaker
“I like to recommend athletic or running shoes with good offloading features that provide a good balance transfer between heel strike and toe off. The goal is to achieve a neutral foot type movement, whether you have high arches or flat feet,” Schaeffer said.
These slip-on shoes put a focus on arch support with their built-in insole system and high-rebound comfort pillar technology. The lightweight mesh material is also ideal for keeping your feet nice and cool.
Reebok Floatride Energy 3 Women’s Shoes
Women’s Floatride Energy 3.0 Running Shoes
Runners rejoice! These Reebok shoes are lightweight and supportive (a rare combo) and feature comfortable, responsive cushioning. Even better? They come in seven color options!
Customers seem to dig the breathable material and arch support. “Arch support is more than normal and a pleasant surprise,” one reviewer wrote. Another called them “soft and comfortable” and said they “take on the challenges of running with no discomfort during or after a run.”
Aetrex Danika Arch Support Sneaker
Danika Arch Support Sneaker
Wondering why supportive sneakers are so important for high arches? Schaeffer offered some insight.
“High arches can lead to the foot becoming very rigid. The foot will not bend easily so it will not be able to absorb shock as well as someone with a neutral foot type. This means walking and running can be painful and can lead to many common foot problems,” he explained. “People with high arches are more prone to ankle issues and will frequently roll their ankles if not supported properly.”
Recommended for a range of foot conditions including plantar fasciitis, bunions and high arches, these comfy mesh sneakers are a a true triple threat. They offer removable arch support, foam cushioning and a material that’s been treated to fend off odors.